Hawick Callants Club: founded 1904

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Here Callants once at Flodden's fight
Renowned for deeds of matchless might
When Scotland's valour sank in night
Shone Hawick's on the Border.
And long as Hornshole Brig shall stand
That trusty valour through the land
Shall tell the story proud and grand
Of Hawick on the Border.

J L Hercus

2018 Smoker: 11th May

Callants Club officials, members and guests join newest member Cornet Gareth Renwick at the smoker in the Town Hall  (Photograph courtesy of Derick Thomson)

Congratulatory Smoker for Cornet Gareth Renwick, Friday 11th May 2018

Last Friday night’s Callants’ Club congratulatory smoker in the town hall saw almost 170 members and guests rally in support of their Cornet.

The man of the moment, 22-year-old Gareth Renwick, was urged to “savour every minute” of his tenure, and he appears to be doing just that, with a smile and handshake for one and all at the smoker. This is a young man clearly relishing a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity.

Chairman for the evening, club president Ken McCartney, left the company in no doubt as to Gareth’s credentials, asserting unequivocally that he was the “right man”.

Toasting the Cornet, he said: “Right from his election night he has been very popular with both young and old. And congratulations go to the ‘Right’ [Ali George] and ‘Left’ [Euan Reilly] for their choice for 2018.” Turning to the Cornet, the chairman continued: “Over the next few weeks you will experience a whole load of different emotions, but you can be safe in the knowledge that everybody in this hall tonight, plus the townsfolk of Hawick, are right behind you. “You know, Cornet, for you this is a dream come true. Savour every minute, keep that smile on your face, give time to the young and not-so-young. That wave to the top window makes all the difference.

“Just do what you’re doing just now. This is your moment in time. Enjoy it with the support you’ve got around you.”

The chairman added: “Callants, guests – I have no doubt that in Cornet Gareth Renwick we have the right man to carry the Banner Blue that bears the golden cross.”

In reply, the Cornet, the newest and youngest member of the Callants’ Club, said it was a “great honour and privilege” to be invited to become a member.

He went on: “Gentlemen, it’s been a few days now since I was officially elected as Cornet, and every day since then has been filled with a huge amount of excitement and pride. “We’ve already had a few concerts, ride-outs, smokers and visits to care homes, and the buzz of anticipation ahead of all these functions has been tremendous.”

Striking a humble note, he said he was deeply honoured and privileged to be this year’s Cornet. He also said he had been overwhelmed by the support and kind words of wisdom he had received. Gareth added: “Gentlemen, I am fully aware of the responsibility of being Cornet, but I can assure you all that I will carry out my duties with immense honour and respect.

“And when I get the opportunity to carry our ancient Banner Blue, I will do so with great pride, while being totally aware of the significance of our flag, and I will always carry it remembering the sacrifice our forebearers endured some 500 years ago. What a privilege.” A toast was proposed to Golden Jubilee Cornet Elliot Hutton who was among the company. “What a hugely popular Cornet he was,” said the president.

The Silver Jubilee principals, Cornet Rory Culton and Acting Father Murray Richardson, were also honoured with a toast. Looking back on his big year in 1993, ex-Cornet Rory said: “Although the weather wasn’t that great, and we had to cancel a ride-out [Roberton] due to snow, we all had a superb time and made some great lifelong friendships in the process.” Ex-Acting Father Murray added: “We all had a tremendous time, and I feel very fortunate to have been asked to be Acting Father by this man here [ex-Cornet Rory]. It was a great privilege.”

The president also made special mention of the Cornet’s grandfather, Jim Gray, a former Hawick RFC stalwart, who had six grandchildren in the cavalcade for Roberton the following day. “Well done, Jim,” said Ken.

Delivering the toast to Acting Father John Lyle, club vice-president and ex-Cornet, Ian Nichol, said: “We have the right man in the right place at the right time. We can see that you are loving every minute of it, and just keep on doing what you’re doing. “When the big picture comes in June I know you’ll see us rightly guided, and will look back on a job well done.”

In his reply, John said: “Standing here tonight as Acting Father-elect is a tremendous honour, looking out at the well-known faces, knowing that we all have the same thing in common: to protect the customs and traditions of Hawick.” John also praised the Cornet who he said had been carrying out his duties “to the highest standard”.

Toasting the ‘Right’ and ‘Left’, club council member Graeme Tinlin said Ali and Euan were “great pals” of his and had been “cracking Cornets”. He added: “With a Right and Left like Ali and Euan, with the love they have for the Common-Riding and the respect they have for our customs and traditions, I’m pretty sure that 2018 will be another fantastic year for yin and a’.”

In reply, Ali said he fully understood the importance of being a member of this “special club”, and went on to thank Graham for his kind words. “What a toast that was,” he said. Euan told the company he had really enjoyed his time as a member of the Callants’ Club over the past few years and in particular the annual dinner when he was Cornet. “It was brilliant,” he remarked. Euan concluded by wishing everyone “a great Common-Riding”.

The final toast of the evening, to the chairman, was given by club member David Wright, who said Kenny had never given less than 100 per cent in all he did, including as a rugby player with Hawick, a rugby referee, councillor, provost and family man. He added: “Gentlemen, I’m sure that you will agree that Kenny has achieved that again tonight.Thank you for chairing this smoker so well, another first class performance from you.

Songs and recitals played a huge part in the smoker’s success, and those delighting the company were: ex-Callants’ Club president Bernie Armstrong, Bert Armstrong MBE, Drew Johnstone, Doug Telfer, Dr Geoff Ross, Robert Scott, ex-Cornet Philip Murray, Rev. Alistair Cook, Graeme Tinlin, the Drums and Fifes, official Common-Riding song-singer Michael Aitken, Dave Finnie, Scott Lambie, Graham Hogg, ex-Cornet Chris Ritson, ex-president Dave Chapman, Alan Brydon, Doug Riddell, ex-Cornet Ian Nichol and ex-Acting Father Henry Douglas BEM. Drew Gibb accompanied the singers and was thanked for standing in for club pianist Ian Landles who was on holiday. What had been a superb night concluded in customary fashion with a rousing rendition of Teribus by Michael Aitken, with 23 Cornets Up.